Regarding mobile app security testing, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first thing to remember is that there is no “one size fits all” approach. Security testing needs to be tailored toward the specific needs of your organization. The second thing to remember is that there are many different types of apps in existence today. Each of these apps has its own unique user experience, purpose, and risk level. As such, there is no “right way” to go about performing security testing on an app. A person-centered approach will work better than a framework-based one when it comes to mobile app security testing. Explains the top 5 security best practices for mobile app testing so you can get started on the right track.
Plan your test in advance
One of the best things about mobile apps is that they are often updated. This means you get fresh eyes on your app every time it’s updated. This can be a great thing or a bad thing. When an app is constantly being updated, the security team may find new defects that were unknown before. This could lead to an increase in defects as new vulnerabilities are discovered and then manually patched. A better approach would be to have a test plan in place that covers known issues and vulnerabilities as well as the adoption of new features and functionality. This way, you know what to look for and can focus on fixing the problems that remain. This also gives you time to test any new features and functionality that the app vendor rolls out. You can even try the app before it’s released to the “real world” to ensure there are no known issues.
Be flexible with the testing.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may only need to perform basic security testing on a handful of apps. In this case, you can simply run a quick test to ensure all is well. However, most organizations need to perform more in-depth assessments to identify and address the broader security threats and risks in their apps. It is essential to your business’s security that you do proper security testing before rolling out an app to the general public. It is also vital to your business’s safety that you backup your findings and document your testing process. This would include screenshots, log messages, and other documentation that describes what you ran into and why you believe the test passed or failed. You can use tools like Keybase to store your logs and issue reports and other devices that can help you track and manage your results. Make sure you keep your security testing documentation up to date and accessible so you can easily reference it in case of an emergency.
Be patient and document your findings.
One of the main reasons you should plan your security test in advance is, so you have time to test all the apps you want to. Ideally, you would have tried most of them against their basic requirements and have a better understanding of the apps’ behaviour when something goes wrong. As you test more apps, however, you may find that you have more complex needs. This is where test documentation comes into play. Conducting a basic test may take a person 10 minutes. However, an elaborate security test could take hours, days, or even weeks to complete. This is why you need to be patient and document your findings. You may not be able to finish all the reports and tests you were initially scheduled to do. Sometimes you may have to wait for certain services to “freeze” so you can get at the data. This can be incredibly challenging when you are conducting a remote security test. Be patient and document your findings so you can quickly respond to any questions or concerns raised by your customers.
Use “hyper defence” to stay ahead of the next attack.
As you conduct security tests, keep in mind that each one is unique. You may have different needs than your customers and may not require the full range of security features offered by an app. You may only require “defence in depth” and minimal encryption and access control features. In this case, you can simply lower the bar for basic security checking and use a mock user environment to simulate an average-user experience. This allows you to save time and money by not having to spend money on features and functionality that you do not require. It also allows you to save face during the course of an attack since you will be showing the attackers that you do not need the complete feature set they might have. This “hyper defence” can help you avoid costly mistakes and save your customers time and money by staying ahead of the next attack.
Wrapping up: Going from mobile app security testing to app protection
Now that you know the top 5 security practices for mobile app testing, it’s time to put them to the test. We recommend starting by securing communication between your team and your customers. This can help ensure you are planning ahead for any issues that may occur. Next, you can turn your attention to conducting basic security assessments. For complex security tests, we recommend using a framework such as Selenium Grid. This allows you to centralize your efforts and runs tests across a vast range of devices and operating systems, making it much more efficient than conducting individual tests on each machine. This provided you with the 5 top security practices for mobile app testing. Now it’s time to put them to the test!
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